Bong Joon-Ho was right, once you overcome subtitle barriers, the world of movies opens up. Pushpa is a masala box-office hit but not in the traditional sense.

mmendable supporting cast — that pretty much sums up the first instalment of the two-part film series Pushpa: The Rise for you. Forget logic, the Allu Arjun starrer has enough star power and masala to qualify as a mainstream theatrical powerhouse.

Such was the magnitude of the Telugu film that it was able to not just compete, but mark a significant dent in the collections of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel’s legacy franchise, when it released in theatres on 17 December 2021. And that success percolated into OTT when the film’s Hindi version was released on Amazon Prime Video on 14 January 2022.

The film chronicles the rise of its hero — Allu Arjun’s titular character, as he goes on to become the head of a smuggling syndicate of red sanders from a coolie. Red sandalwood is found exclusively in the forests of the Seshachalam Hills of the Rayalaseema region in Andhra Pradesh.

The hero of the Sukumar-directed film, Pushpa Raj, looks like any ordinary man (no flat board abs to appreciate, sorry) with a tragic backstory. Pushpa, time and again,

emphasises his routine struggle with having no surname because he was born out of wedlock. However, with all his ordinariness, Pushpa seems to also have a superpower — getting out of any tricky situation unharmed.

To be fair, there are some superficial attempts to make him look stuck, albeit for two-three scenes.

It seems the hero is omnipresent, well aware of all his adversaries’ plans. There is absolutely nothing that can bring him down!

The Hindi version tries to recapture the magic and nuances of the rags-to-riches Telugu saga but falters. In the dubbed version, the introductory scene of Allu Arjun is a play on Shah Rukh Khan’s famous dialogue ‘Rahul, naam toh suna hoga’.

A police officer asks Pushpa Raj who he is, to which he responds, “Pushpa, naam yad mat rakhna (Pushpa, don’t remember my name)”. This is diametrically opposite to what Pushpa said in Telugu! In the original version, the cop asks him his name and enquires if he is Tamilian, to which the character introduces himself as a ‘hardcore Telugu’.